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Mrs. Bale 05-17-2014 01:43 PM

Honda EU2000i Hot/Neutral Reversed
I just bought a new generator and hooked it up for the first time today. I connected my 2014 Flying Cloud and plugged my circuit tester. I got an error reading "hot and neutral reversed." I jumped on the Internet and see that this is a common issue due to the way the generator is grounded, but couldn't find anything saying whether it is something to be concerned about. I don't want to fry my new Airstream (or myself). Anyone been down this road before?

r carl 05-17-2014 01:46 PM

Did you plug the circuit tester directly into the generator?

HowieE 05-17-2014 02:39 PM

What did you plug into what? Did you plug the trailer umbilical cord into the 30 amp plug on the generator or use a 15/30 adapter on the end of the umbilical and plug into a 20 amp receptacle?

What I would do now is plug your tester directly into one of the 20 amp receptacles. If that test bad I would return the generator. If it test good try the same in the 30 amp receptacle with a 30/15 adapter. Again if that tests bad return the generator.

If both test good your trailer has a problem

AtomicNo13 05-17-2014 03:04 PM

Inverters will yield this error, matters not if you use an inverter powered from 12v or one by a generator.
With a genset you'll likely get a ground fault since there really is no ground.

HowieE 05-17-2014 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by AtomicNo13 (Post 1456524)
Inverters will yield this error, matters not if you use an inverter powered from 12v or one by a generator.
With a genset you'll likely get a ground fault since there really is no ground.

Not sure I can accept this answer.
First off she made no mention of an inverter. Secondly why would you power an inverter with 110 volt source, ie: a generator? Yes there is a 12 volt option on most generators but if I understand the original question she was testing the 110 system.

If an inverter switched hot and natural you would stand a good chance of killing people with any device that only had 2 wires and was not insulated. I have grabbed 1 or 2 items that had hot and natural reversed.

Mrs. Bale 05-17-2014 03:55 PM

Thank you all for your replies. I plugged the trailer umbilical into the generator using an adapter. I tested the trailer and the generator directly with my circuit tester. Both produced the same error.

AtomicNo13 05-17-2014 03:56 PM

How do the Honda generators make power? It is in inverter isn't it?
Plug one of those little testers into a gender output of that of a 12v powered inverter and you'll get hot neutral reverse. On in an RV park and have cheched 4 other coaches other than mine. Their inverters and generators all give the error.... yes I am using different little testers.
Who said anything about powering with 110v?

Mrs. Bale 05-17-2014 04:00 PM

And yes, I was using only the AC on the generator.

Mrs. Bale 05-17-2014 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by AtomicNo13 (Post 1456524)
Inverters will yield this error, matters not if you use an inverter powered from 12v or one by a generator.
With a genset you'll likely get a ground fault since there really is no ground.

Thanks, AtomicNo13. There was something in the user manual about the lack of grounding causing a difference in test readings, but astoundingly, it didn't specify how or give any further clarification.

HowieE 05-17-2014 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by AtomicNo13 (Post 1456546)
Who said anything about powering with 110v?

I believe she had her trailer PLUGGED into a generator. If that is the case the generator should be supplying 110 volts ac to the trailer. She has now clarified my questions above and is seeing reversed 110 voltage polarity at the generator.

I am out of gas but after dinner will get some and test one of my Hondas.

AtomicNo13 05-17-2014 04:29 PM

I was dumbfounded when I first experienced this error.
I support your understanding of the lethality of a reverse hot/ neutral in these conductive bodies.

Wayne&Sam 05-17-2014 04:44 PM

I just checked my gens. I got the error on the Honda inverters and the Yamaha inverter, not the Honda 5000 which is a straight generator.

AtomicNo13 05-17-2014 05:07 PM

You will not have the fault on a diode rectified genset, only a sine wave generator.
Safety need not be a concern as this is RF power not true alternating current.
I can't believe nobody noticed this before now!

xrvr 05-17-2014 05:34 PM

It has been brought up before in other threads. Jim

HowieE 05-17-2014 05:56 PM

It appears the small wattage generators are DC generators and use a built in inverter to give AC. This may be because you do not have an excitation source for the windings, no battery.

When I think of an inverter it is just that a device to convert DC to AC and generally stepping up the voltage at the same time.

Well I tested my 1000. It shows OPEN GROUND at 120 volts output. But not a reverse polarity. If I test what one would assume the hot leg, the smaller prong, to chassis I see ac voltage. None from the larger prong to chassis ground.

The 4, 5, and 6 comments on this tread may shed light on the subject.
RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Reverse Polarity on Outlets

Mrs. Bale 05-17-2014 06:12 PM

Thank you all for helping me out with this issue. Since these generators are widely used with RVs, one would think that Honda would have given us all a heads-up! I appreciate everyone's input.

amaier7771 05-17-2014 07:45 PM

I also got that same error when I used my Honda 2000's with my 2013 Flying Cloud for the first time. I had an electirician look at it and he said the hot and neutral were reversed on the honda. He switched some wires and all workes well since...

I had previously used these Honda's on our SOB, and did not have any indication of a problem. So I have to conclude there is something about the Airstream that is more sensitive to how a generator is wired.

Jammer 05-17-2014 08:25 PM

Nothing to do with inverters. There's nothing special about inverter power that makes it different, grounding wise, than power from a stator coil.

It's all about bonding.

Neutral and ground are connected together (bonded) at various points in utility power systems. In North America it's at the transformer and, with some exceptions, at the service entrance to each building.

RVs aren't supposed to bond the neutral and ground. The neutral is supposed to float.

Some generators bond neutral and ground together at the generator. Some do not. There are safety advantages and disadvantages to doing it either way.

When the neutral floats and isn't bonded anywhere it isn't really a neutral any more. Ground voltage to neutral can be anywhere from 0-120. The voltage might be enough to light up one of those outlet checkers, or it might not.

Al and Missy 05-17-2014 08:34 PM

Looking at the wiring diagram of the 2000i, it appears that both " hot" and "neutral" are isolated from ground. In conventional home wiring, which the tester is designed for, the "neutral" is connected to ground at the distribution panel. Further, the green wire ground is connected to a ground rod at the entrance panel. This references the "hot" to earth ground and creates the potential (no pun intended) for a shock hazard if hot and neutral are reversed. With the generator, there is no reference to earth ground unless you drive a ground rod and connect it to the ground terminal of the generator. The tester is detecting that the "neutral" wire and ground are not at the same potential. With the generator, this is not a problem since the neutral floats from ground.

And both the house supply and the generator put out 60 Hz alternating current. Neither are "RF" I.e Radio Frequency". Other than the fact of the floating neutral, the spectrum of the two waveforms are, at least to the first order, identical.

J. Morgan 05-17-2014 08:52 PM

Honda EU2000i Hot/Neutral Reversed
With either an inverter or a generator the neutral and the ground never come together as they do in a main panel nearest the meter.

This causes the checking device show a fault.

When both the neutral and the line are isolated from ground, neutral and line are identical, and apparently, the way these devices are configured, they are incapable of differentiating a true fault from a false reading.

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